EU welcomes FATF progress and welcomes legislation guaranteeing press freedom

ISLAMABAD: The European Union welcomed the progress made by Pakistan in the implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) program and also welcomed the adoption of the draft law on the protection of journalists and media professionals, 2020, by parliament, which then became law with presidential approval.

The law provides a legal and institutional framework for an enabling environment where journalists and media professionals can work with absolute freedom of expression.

A joint communiqué issued on Wednesday at the end of the sixth round of the EU-Pakistan strategic dialogue said the former also welcomed “efforts underway to address the remaining actions of the FATF”.

The meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and European Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell in Brussels on Tuesday.

The two sides reviewed the ongoing cooperation between Pakistan and the EU on the basis of the strategic engagement plan, according to the statement shared by the Foreign Ministry.

Borrell and Qureshi reaffirmed their determination to strengthen and protect human rights as well as fundamental freedoms, with an emphasis on freedom of religion and belief, interfaith harmony, religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence, and minority rights.

Qureshi also raised concerns about the growing trends of Islamophobia, xenophobia and religious intolerance in Western countries and the need for a joint resolution to counter them.

The two parties expressed a strong political commitment in favor of the SPG + status and the implementation of the 27 international conventions on human rights, labor rights, environmental protection and good governance therein. linked.

For his part, Borrell expressed his concerns about the death penalty and the abuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan.

He also welcomed the adoption of the Draft Law on the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals, 2020, by Parliament and hoped that the 2019 Law on Torture and Death in Detention (Prevention and Punishment ) and other laws relating to rights which are currently in Parliament would also be enacted.

They also welcomed the continued cooperation with Pakistan on electoral issues.

Borrell briefed Qureshi on the upcoming follow-up visit of the EU Election Observation Mission to Pakistan.

They also discussed the importance of decisive global action on climate adaptation and building climate resilience, and the importance for developed countries to take the lead in mobilizing climate finance, noting the important role of public and private funds and technology in facilitating the transition.

Borrell welcomed Pakistan’s statement ahead of COP26 of its nationally determined contribution to achieving climate goals.

The two had an in-depth exchange of views on the situation in Afghanistan and agreed on the importance of maintaining a sustained engagement with Kabul to promote stability and combat narcotics as well as the threat of terrorism.

They expressed serious concern about the potential for an economic collapse and a significant worsening of the humanitarian crisis and a new influx of refugees.

Both sides recognized Afghanistan’s liquidity problems which strain legitimate banking services. They also agreed on the need to continue providing urgent and unhindered humanitarian assistance and basic social service support to the Afghan people.

Borrell and Qureshi stressed the importance of improving the socio-economic situation and preserving human rights, especially those of women and girls, and persons belonging to minorities.

They supported the dialogue between the Afghan parties to achieve national reconciliation and stressed the importance of an inclusive and representative government, to improve the prospects for security and stability.

Borrell thanked Pakistan for its support in the evacuation of EU nationals and the safe passage of people from Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed Pakistan’s support for the inclusion of the EU in the regional political consultation mechanism on Afghanistan.

He also reiterated Pakistan’s deep concerns over India’s rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and efforts to change the demographics of the disputed region in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. .

Borrell stressed that the EU is closely monitoring the rights situation in Kashmir and reaffirmed the need for restraint, de-escalation of tensions and resolution of the dispute through dialogue and constructive political and diplomatic engagement.

He hailed as an important step, in the interest of regional peace and stability, the February agreement between India and Pakistan for the respect of the ceasefire agreement on the line of control (LoC) and to engage through established mechanisms.

Borrell and Qureshi also exchanged views on other regional issues and reaffirmed their efforts to promote peace and prosperity through concerted efforts.

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